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Monday, November 16, 2015

Firefighter gets a New Face

Mississippi Firefighter Patrick Hardison gets a New Face in the World's Most Extensive Face Transplant-  a Normal Face! 

Prior to his transplant (pictured), Hardison had undergone 71 operations aimed at saving his eyesight, and re-creating his nose and lips
For the past 14 years, former volunteer firefighter Patrick Hardison, whose face was burned off in a 2001 fire, has been living in his own personal hell. 

"My kids were scared to death of me," he told ABC's Nightline. "You can't blame them. They're young kids." 

Now – thanks to an Aug. 14 face transplant at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City – Hardison, 41, is almost back to the way he looked before a fire burnt off his eyelids, scalp, ears and lips and melted his face. 

Hardison was a 27-year-old volunteer firefighter on Sept. 5, 2001, when a ceiling collapsed on him while searching for a victim in a burning mobile home. 

My mask "was melting off my face," he told Nightline

He pulled the mask off, held his breath and closed his eyes, which doctors say saved his sight and prevented smoke from damaging his throat and lungs.
Volunteer firefighter Bricky Cole later described the horrible moment Hardison came out of the house. 
'His face was smoking and flesh was melting off,' Cole recalled. 'It was all char.'   
The former firefighter spent 63 days in hospital and was given the semblance of a face with flesh taken from his thighs. He had lost his ears, lips, most of his nose and virtually all of his eyelid tissue.
Because of this, he was unable to see properly. 
When he returned home, he recalled how his three young children, Alison, six, Dalton, three and Averi, two, were terrified of him.

He told ABC: 'My kids were scared of me. You can't blame them. They're young kids.'

He playfully told them and other curious children that he had fought a bear but they 'ran screaming and crying when they saw me. There are things worse than dying.' 

He spent the next 63 days in the hospital, fighting for his life – and the next 14 years undergoing more than 70 surgeries, hoping for a miracle that would make him look normal again while he battled suicidal thoughts. 

David Rodebaugh, 26, was riding his bike without a helmet in Brooklyn when he crashed and hit his head. He ended up being the perfect donor for Hardison. 

"No parent should ever go through the pain of losing a child," Nancy Miller, Rodebaugh's mother, said in a statement released by Langone. "But we felt that perhaps something good could come from something so tragic. That’s why we decided to honor David’s decision to donate his organs – so that others like Patrick Hardison can live on in his memory and benefit from his generosity." 

Patrick Hardison received a new scalp and face, including ears, nose, lips and eyelids.

Patrick Hardison before and after his facial transplant surgery in New York.

For the first time since that raging fire in Senatobia, Mississippi, in 2001, Mr Hardison can blink and even sleep with his eyes closed. His surgeon, Eduardo Rodriguez, said these were important steps to sparing his blue eyes from blindness that previously seemed all but inevitable. Dr Rodriguez led the 150-person medical team that performed the procedure.
Simultaneous surgeries took place, Dr Rodriguez said, with Mr Hardison on one operating table while the donor, David Rodebaugh's body was on the other. The NYU medical team had practised for a full year to get it right.
Patrick Hardison with his daughters before the 2001 accident.
Patrick Hardison with his daughters before the 2001 accident. Photo: AP

NYU, which will pay for the estimated $US1 million ($1.4 million) surgery, took the case after a firefighter buddy reached out on behalf of Mr Hardison.
David Rodebaugh died in a BMX accident. His family donated his face for the operation.
David Rodebaugh died in a BMX accident. His family donated his face for the operation. Photo: NYU/AP

With his new eyelids and more surgery, is expected to regain a normal field of vision for the first time in more than a decade
With his new eyelids and more surgery he is expected to regain his normal field of vision for the first time in more than a decade

Patrick Hardison's children had been terrified of their father's disfigured face in the beginning.

Proof of the surgery's success was obvious after a medical team took Mr Hardison shopping for new clothes at Macy's department store, and no one in the store gave him a second look, Dr Rodriguez said.

He is very grateful to the donor's family and hopes they see the goodness in his face now.

Hardison, pictured after his accident, in his portrait that appeared in the New York magazine
Patrick Hardison pictured in his uniform now after the surgery.

Contributing sources:

Barbara Goldberg   Sydney Morning Herald, November 17, 2015

Firefighter Patrick Hardison gets world's most extensive face transplant:

'via Blog this'


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